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Design Classics

Brown Betty Teapot

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Design Classics

Brown Betty Teapot

Not all teapots are created equal. The much-loved Brown Betty is a Design Classic that’s a little older than you might expect. The original design dates back to the 17th century when the teapot’s red clay was first discovered near Stoke on Trent. The clay created a ceramic which was more effective at retaining heat and so quickly found itself use as a teapot because you could pour several cups before the tea got cold.

Brown Betty teapot via Ian McIntyre

The round shape that makes the teapot so effective came later in the 19th century. Early iterations were tall and slim, more like a coffee pot. The famous browncolour originally came from the Rockingham glaze that was brushed on the pot and allowed to run down the sides for a streaky finish when it was fired. And it’s not just a pretty face, because of the brown colour, the pot doesn’t show stains.

Angela Moore
Angela Moore
Brown Betty became hugely popular in the Victorian era when Queen Victoria herself was a big fan of the teapot. As well as the clay’s ability to keep tea warmer for longer, the round shape allows the tea leaves more freedom of movement in the pot, which many swear gives tea the best possible depth of flavour with no bitterness.
Angela Moore
The iconic teapots are still widely regarded as being best-in-class and over 300 years later, they’re still being made in Stoke on Trent by Cauldon Ceramics. In 2018, award-winning ceramic designer Ian McIntyre re-imagined the archetypal teapot by adding a cylindrical loose leaf tea infuser, a non-drip spout, a locking lid and an easy stacking design. McIntyre said the Brown Betty is a classic object “not because of nostalgia, but because it’s the best at what it does”.
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